An entire plant monitored from a cell phone

By El Financiero
15:27:00 – May 02, 2018

Sucroliq, a Mexican company dedicated to the creation of liquid sugar, found in automation the way to improve its processes and become a world-class company.

On the screen of her smartphone, Alicia Alejandra Ramírez Mata can monitor that the 10 areas of the plant in which she works –and whose automation she herself led– are working correctly.< /p>

“With this technology, a single operator is capable of operating the entire plant and even realizing when something is wrong. All areas and processes are connected, and this system gives you a complete view,” explains the manager de Sucroliq Control Automation, a company with more than 20 years of experience in the sugar sector.

This plant, which has state-of-the-art technology to convert granular sugar into liquid sugar for the food industry, is located within Danone’s plant in Irapuato, Guanajuato, and is considered the production center with the highest efficiency and production capacity. that company worldwide.

The most modern in the world

The main technology used in this plant, whose total investment was 7.5 million dollars, is SIMATIC PCS 7, developed by the German company Siemens, and which consists of a solution that integrates everything necessary to fully and safely automate the entire production process.

Enrique Bojórquez Valenzuela, president of Sucroliq, points out that this company already had plants in Amecameca and Monterrey; however, a couple of years ago, in Irapuato they decided to take a much bigger step.

“It is the most modern plant of its kind in the world, with a very high level of automation and control of all stages of the process,” says the businessman.

The decision to use the latest technology, he adds, was made because very high quality standards must be met in the food industry, so they had to work with someone who would provide the necessary confidence to themselves and their customers, because the liquid sugar generated by Sucroliq is directly integrated into the production line of the companies that buy its product.

“Our raw material is very changeable because we take sugar from all the mills in the country and finally we have to refine and homogenize it; in addition, the type and quality of the water in each place is another critical factor that we must take care of,” says Bojórquez Valenzuela .

After evaluating two or three more options, Sucroliq decided to join forces with Siemens: “It gave us much more confidence and security, especially because of its great prestige and experience, in addition to the fact that we saw that the people who were assisting us mastered their subject” , remembers the manager.

Information at all times

On a tour through this Sucroliq plant, Alicia proudly shows all the advances they have, ranging from terminals to monitor that all processes are working correctly, to the timely monitoring of sacks of sugar, since go in, until they turn into liquid sugar.

“We can know at all times where is each sack of sugar that I put into this plant, and that is achieved by the PCS7 system with control of routes, monitoring, graphs, alarms and warnings”, he points out.

“Having information available at all times is a very strong tool for any customer to know what is happening in their plant, even if they areon the other side of the world, that gives you a lot of confidence,” Alicia points out.

Although the plant works constantly, the number of personnel is small and most are found in areas such as the reception of bags of sugar, which are received unrefined and are given a label that allows them to be monitored throughout the entire process. the process of entering data into a system using a scanner.

Through seven monitors installed at a checkpoint, it is also possible to verify –through graphics and texts in Spanish– the operation of this plant that produces about 150,000 liters of liquid sugar per day, which is achieved through the use of our own patented process of 100% Mexican origin.

Among Sucroliq’s clients, in addition to Danone, are companies such as Kellogg’s, Nestlé and Jumex.

A great differentiator

For Bojórquez Valenzuela, using this technology is a differentiator for his clients, since it makes his processes more efficient, more reliable and, above all, reduces costs.

“Without industry 4.0 technology, without the levels of process control it gives us, we would have already disappeared because our customers are extremely demanding to accept us as suppliers. If we didn’t have this technology, I am convinced that we would no longer exist as a company,” he stresses.

This model has been so successful that one of Sucroliq’s plans is to open plants like the ones in Irapuato in other parts of the world. “Being industry 4.0 pioneers is a challenge that excites us“, he says.

“For us, this is a grain of sand to make a better country and set an example for future generations that world-class companies can be generated in Mexico.”